Tuesday, December 23, 2003


"You say you want a revolution . . ."

A reader with more time on his hands that I have (obviously, he's not interviewing at MLA, and will be enjoying his Christmas holiday) has looked up the participants of the MLA panel on labor and found some interesting information. Three of the four panelists on “The Labor Theory of Culture” panel are members of the “Red Critique" or the "Red Collective,” a group which, in their own words, was

So what we have at the MLA is the intellectual subsidization of a group of radical communists, who, unable to understand that history has proven Marxism a flawed and failed philosophy, continue to push for a communist revolution against the “evils” of capitalism. I’m not sure what the most disturbing part of all of this is. The stupidity of the participants, in clinging to a failed philosophy? The implicit backing by the MLA of a radical group whose final goal is the destruction of the United States as we know it? Or the failure of the MLA to provide a conference in which panelists actually present on matters having to do with language and literature?

My reader comments on the cute “critique-al knowledges” bit. He wonders what it might portend. Cynically, I suspect it’s just a bit of Derridean-derived nonsense, as in the recent Chronicle article ridiculing the MLA conference.

He provides some more quotations from the "Red Collective/Red Critique" website:

I would hope my last posting would serve to deflate this little leftist illusion: the media (which includes the publishing industry), in this country and others, leans far leftward. Perhaps not far enough for our radical friends, however, for whom anything short of revolution reeks of compromise. Thank God for the real radicals, who deliver papers at the MLA conference and publish manifestos on their website. “Viva la revolucion!”

These “intellectuals” have apparently forgotten the lessons learned from the twentieth century experiences with Marxism. Totalitarianism, anyone? Human beings have not evolved to live in Marxist regimes. We are competitive creatures, and we work for rewards. Take a hard look at why the Soviet Union was not able to compete with the United States during the Cold War. I suggest reading Heaven on Earth: The Rise and Fall of Socialism. It’s always nice for budding little communists to read an account of someone who actually lived under a communist regime. Milan Kundera’s The Joke might also help these little Bolsheviks understand that their utopic visions of a Marxist state are just that—visions.

I’ll leave today’s posting with a few quotes from some friends of the Red Critique. We’ll start with Uncle Karl:

“The alteration of men on a mass scale is necessary.”

Of course such alteration is necessary. The only way human beings can exist in a Marxist state is through such alteration. We would have to be something other than human in order to live as Marx would have us. I’m sure the Red Critique would say that Marx would have us be something “better” than human. I’m not going to debate this here. What I want to stress is that Marx would have us be something other than what we are. The question is, what are we to do with those who cannot “rise” to Marx’s expectations? Oh, right. Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, Il Jong and the rest have answered that question. We eliminate them.

Maxim Gorky wrote, “The working classes are to Lenin what materials are to the metallurgist.”

Ah, so even the laborers are just there to forward the aims of the revolution? Does this mean that Marxism might be guilty of seeking to manipulate the minds of the working class in order to forward its own aims? In order to consolidate its hold on power? Certainly not! The realities in Cuba, China, and North Korea serve to reveal that . . . oh, yeah. They serve to reveal that Gorky understands a fundamental truth of human nature that serves to demonstrate the evil of Marx—human beings are cogs in the machine, far more than they were in the industrial revolution Marx was so emphatically against (and with which Engels was intimately involved--an involvement that lined Uncle Karl's pockets).

Mao Zedong (a hero for our foolish friends, who learned nothing from Julia Kristeva’s experiences in Red China), said

“It is on a blank page that the most beautiful poems are written.”

Our friend Mao was speaking of human beings. If Marxism is to succeed, human beings must be a blank slate upon which to work; human nature, in a biological sense, must be rejected if the individual is to cede his or her will to the State. The Marxist utopia cannot exist if things like greed, desire, and selfishness are part of the human genome. The utopia can only be achieved if these are socially learned behaviors which can be weeded out of society. Is this the road our professoriate wants us to take?

There are, of course, only two ways to implement this weeding process. I’ll let you all figure out what those are.
(I should also add that I'd like to thank Steven Pinker for pointing out many of these Marxist quotations in his book, The Blank Slate, which has a Amazon.com link in the right sidebar.)

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